Advances in Health Sciences Education

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 633–652 | Cite as

The effect of communication skills training on patient-pharmacist communication in pharmacy education: a meta-analysis

  • Hye Kyung Jin
  • Jae Hee Choi
  • Ji Eun Kang
  • Sandy Jeong RhieEmail author


Communication skills in pharmacy education and practice are increasingly regarded as a crucial component. However, thus far, estimating of the overall communication skills training (CST) effects in a variety of outcomes is lacking. The aim of this study was to synthesize the effects of CST in pharmacy education by performing a meta-analysis of CST studies. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, ERIC, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Web of Science, Communication and Mass Media Complete (CMMC), key journals, and bibliographic databases. The effect sizes (ESs) were extracted and pooled in random effects meta-analyses. We assessed the quality of the study using the Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument (MERSQI). From 34,737 articles, 9 studies were included in this meta-analysis. The overall effect size for CST was 0.611 (95% CI 0.327–0.895), and it was statistically significant (p = 0.000). We found based on the subgroup analyses that CST has a large effect size when it used stand-alone courses, lecture-lab based courses, video recordings, feedback, training for 2 or more semesters, hours per week ≥5 h and external assessments. For the CST effect, the effect sizes were ranked in order of confidence, knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The result of the meta-regression is that the total number of attendees is significantly negatively correlated with the effect sizes of the CST. The findings of the present meta-analysis provide evidence that CST in pharmacy education may act as an efficient way to improve the communication competency of students, and it may serve as a guide for pharmacy educators.


Communication skills training Meta-analysis Pharmacy education Pharmacist-patient communication 



The authors would like to thank Jennifer Trujillo, Associate Professor at University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; John Lonie, Assistant Professor at Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Long Island University; Assemi Mitra, Professor at Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California San Francisco; Daniel J. Hansen, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, SDSU College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions for providing the data required for our analysis, and Su-Hyun Kim, librarian, at Ewha Womans University for giving advice on how to search the database.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hye Kyung Jin
    • 1
  • Jae Hee Choi
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ji Eun Kang
    • 2
    • 4
  • Sandy Jeong Rhie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.College of PharmacyEwha Womans UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Division of Life and Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate SchoolEwha Womans UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of PharmacyKonkuk University Medical CenterSeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of PharmacyNational Medical CenterSeoulRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Ewha Womans University Mokdong HospitalSeoulRepublic of Korea

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